13-year-old Kaylah is on the mend after her stroke

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One minute a then 11-year-old Kaylah was bouncing on a trampoline, the next she collapses with limited consciousness.

This is the situation Woodroffe mum, Megan Smith found herself in after taking her three daughters on a Queensland holiday to visit a friend in Toowoomba.

“A few days prior, Kaylah had hit her head but she didn’t tell anyone,” Megan said.

“Doctors think the hit to her head may have caused the main artery in her neck, which connects to her brain, to sever, resulting in her having a stroke.”

Kaylah was rushed to Toowoomba Base Hospital in a critical condition, then airlifted to Queensland’s Royal Children’s Hospital where she was in its intensive care unit (ICU) for four days.

“When she came out of ICU she couldn’t eat, drink, walk or talk and she was incontinent,” Megan said.

“The stroke paralysed her down one side. It was like starting all over again with a baby.

“We spent nine weeks in hospital. Our whole world was turned upside down. I couldn’t go back to work; my husband Scott and I had two other children to care for, and now we only had one wage coming in to pay our mortgage.

“At the time, it didn’t even enter my mind about the supports I would need for Kaylah when she got home, but the rehab nurses and therapists did, and they were just incredible.

“They explained to me about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and helped me to fill out all the forms. I signed them, they were lodged in the hope by the time we got home, Kaylah would have some supports in place, and she did.

Kaylah Smith and mother Megan

“Our NDIS planner, Andy, has just been fantastic. He deserves a pay rise,” Megan joked.

“The supports he has included in Kaylah’s NDIS plan have just been fantastic.

“I’ve been able to employ a support coordinator who has helped us find good therapists who relate to Kaylah.

“I had no idea who to call so it was such a relief not to have to sit on the phone and worry about calling multiple services to find the right ones. 

“Now Kaylah sees a psychologist and attends weekly speech, physio and occupational therapies.

“Her support worker, Vivian, has also changed our lives for the better.

“Kaylah’s behaviour was difficult after her stroke. It was so hard for her to adjust but now she’s a totally different child with Vivian around.

“They go places and do things together, and it gives Scott and I time with our two other daughters, Tia (16) and Jasmyn (12), who are at an age where they really need us too.

“Kaylah is back at school three half days a week, doing most things herself. While she is coming along in leaps and bounds there’s still a long way to go.

“I really don’t know what we would have done without the NDIS. We may have had to sell our house just to pay the therapy bills. The NDIS has been amazing,” she said.